Wednesday, February 10, 2010

24 Secret Agent

TITLE: Unnatural Selection
GENRE: Science Fiction

Monday, August 10, ninety-eight days until deadline
North Central Pennsylvania

I’d originally intended to go home, but any self-respecting tracker would have checked there first. Plus, I was technically dead, and it wasn’t Army policy to hold base housing on the off chance a dead man’s clone would want to resume residence. By now, my stuff was in a landfill, and the house was under new management. I had other places to turn—drop boxes and the like with new identifications and cash—but gaining access to them when I looked (and felt) like a horny teenager in need of ProActiv wasn’t going to happen.

The trip to Plunketts Creek Township involved a lot of two-lane roads and sudden speed limit changes. I couldn’t afford a high-speed chase, so I kept it just under the limit. When I was within ten miles, I dumped the stolen Altima in the woods and hiked the rest of the way.

I’d escaped from one cabin to go find another. This one was half a mile off the grid in the middle of nowhere. The interlinked logs gave it a rustic exterior, and the smoke wafting from the chimney told me someone was home. Unexpected, but I’d deal. I bided my time, to an extent. They’d find me; of this I was supremely confident. Like it or not, I needed help, or a place to crash away from prying eyes while I regrouped.

No, this was my chance. My only chance, at least for now.


  1. I would read on to see where this is going.

    I was a little confused. Is the MC a clone? If so, how does he know where his original kept saftey deposit boxes and where he use to live. Is this info that every clone would know about thier original? Also, in the third paragraph, I'm not sure who he is supremely confindent would find him. The military, or the people in the cabin.

    Otherwise, every interesting.

  2. Not quite hooked.

    I loved the line about being a dead man's clone, but I got confused with the teenager bit. If he's a clone, wouldn't the original also have been a teenager and so he shouldn't have had trouble feeling the same or gaining access to the resources that have been made available to him?

    I was also wondering who was going to find him and why he was so confident they would. Then there seem to be mixed messages about running or being willing to be found.

  3. The first sentence confused me momentarily. I thought your character was the self-respecting tracker. Once I figured it out, the rest of the paragraph went great.

    The beginning of the next paragraph confused me, too. It wasn't 'till the end of the paragraph that I realized he was driving. I thought he was thinking ahead to the trip, trying to decide whether to make it or not.

    Next paragraph... you just into backstory here for the briefest moment, and it doesn't seem necessary. Where is he during this paragraph? Is he standing in front of the cabin? If so, let him think that it was only slightly better (or worse) than the last one. If not...what is he doing and why is he thinking this just now? Just let us travel with him as he makes his plans. Don't stop the action to tell us what he did in the past.

  4. I was hooked, until I realized it was SF (which I don't usually read)! I like the amount of detail, dolled out in a natural manner without anything unnecessary. You've worked hard on this and it shows.

  5. I enjoyed this. I'm not quite hooked, but I would read on a little more.

    I assume in your world clones are 'grown', so he broke free while still a teen.

    I think I need a little more setting, I also didn't realize he was driving until later.

  6. Halfway hooked.

    I know people like action in the beginning, but part of me wanted this to slow down a bit.

    This is an interesting concept, and with a bit of tweaking, this opening could be awesome.

    I'd keep reading though :)

  7. The transitions from one paragraph to the next didn't feel smooth or clear to me. I suggest you mention that the character has escaped one cabin and is moving to another in the first paragraph instead of the last--so you're giving the reader details as they happen instead of backtracking.

    Good setup for a action packed story.

  8. The first paragraph confused me as to whether "home" was the same as the base housing. The line in the third paragraph about going from one cabin to the other completely lost me.
    The second paragraph actually would work as the first paragraph of the story. Perhaps you could start with that and find a way to work in the line about "dead man's clone."

    Mark in the Seattle area

  9. This didn't work for me. You make it clear the home he no longer has wasn't his to begin with. It was his real self's home. So why does he refer to it as his? And wouldn't it be his real self's stuff that was in a landfill? I guess I need to know his relationship to his real self before he died. Did they live together? Were they friends?

    I also didn't get whether he wanted to be found or not. First, it seems as though he's running, then later it sounds like he wants to be found, then he says no, this is his chance. His chance for what? I guess I wanted some of the holes filled in. Maybe give us more info and be less vague?

  10. I'm almost hooked. I really like the premise and the writing is good. I like that the clone is still a teenager. However I felt like this started in the wrong place. It's a little too much action at the onset. I feel like I'm jumping right in while too much is going on, when I'm already trying to orient myself to a new world. I'd keep reading, but you might want to take another look at whether this is the best spot to start this story. :)

  11. I liked this, but I agree with others that the part about escaping from one cabin to go find another should be put higher. Maybe even start with that.

    As for the rest of it, I was wondering about the clone issues too, but that's part of the fun of a story like this - finding it out as you read. For now you've given us enough information to follow the story so I'm happy :-)

  12. I loved this. Great writing and I'd definitely read on.

  13. I don't have time to read right now, but I absolutely love your title!

  14. This feels like a fully-realized world, but I found the presentation to the reader to be a bit confusing. There were parts that felt a bit needlessly vague (such as the "there" in the first sentence - where is "there") and the concept of being dead is one that the reader may need to be eased into.